30th April

An eventful enough end to what's been a pretty full on month at Portland, with perhaps the chief surprise being frequent showers or longer spells of rain - hitherto, this April's been a month with almost no measurable rainfall. Yesterday's freshening southeasterly strengthened still further overnight and was very gusty at dawn ahead of the threatening rain. The sea got almost all the attention and Chesil came up with the best of the numbers that included 900 commic terns, 300 Manx Shearwaters, 173 Common Scoter, 39 Bar-tailed Godwits, 21 Whimbrel, 18 Arctic Skuas, a Knot and a Little Gull; generally lower totals at the Bill included additional species in the form of 2 each of Great Northern Diver and Pomarine Skua, and singles of Black-throated Diver and Black Tern. On the land 2 Turtle Doves were the only migrants of any note at the Bill; additionally, there was an early morning report of the Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Cheyne Weare.

We haven't really had time yet to reflect on what a bumper month April was for common migrants but in updating the daily ringing total table we've realised that it was the best April ever for Willow Warbler: the total of 1699 ringed in the Obs garden (where, year-on-year, we basically make the same amount of effort with the same nets and don't use sound lures) is the highest April total ever and exceeds all but five annual totals there.

It's a sad reflection on their current status that the day's biggest crowd-pullers were 2 Turtle Doves showing quite well at times at the Bill © Martin Cade:

Grey Plovers and Knot were amongst today's wader selection at Ferrybridge © Debby Saunders: